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On the Environment

Monday, November 18, 2013
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Business as Unusual: Building the New Food Movement with Business Law

By Guest Author, Avana Andrade, Yale F&ES '15

In the next installment of our Frontiers in Food and Agriculture webinar series on November 20, Rachel Armstrong will continue our conversation on how legal expertise and legal knowledge can rebuild and reinforce a burgeoning food system in the US. In her presentation,“Business as Unusual: Building the New Food Movement with Business Law,” Rachel Armstrong will expound on innovative business models and legal tools that attorneys are using to help farmers face daily and seasonal challenges such as employment and contract law issues.

Armstrong is the founder and executive director of Farm Commons, a Madison, WI-based non-profit that providing legal services to sustainable farmers. Her previous work on farms, managing community gardens, catering, and running a local foods marketing program motivated her to earn her law degree. She’s written several articles and books, instructed university and attorney classes in agricultural law, and, in 2012, received the Echoing Green Fellowship, an award recognizing the world’s most promising social entrepreneurs.

As previous speakers, Jason Foscolo and Laurie Ristino, have helped demonstrate, creating the legal framework to support an emerging local and regional food movement is critical and there are many creative and unexplored ways of transforming a conventional food system that does not meet changing social demands or support environmental integrity. If, as Rachel Armstrong suggests, farmers are social entrepreneurs in developing innovative business models, then the role they play in implementing a sustainable food system advances both economic and social concerns such as community health and even race relations. In this light, the ways that attorneys, consumers, researchers and students can support those endeavors become ever more important.

Rachel Armstrong’s webinar will be followed by an interactive question and answer session with the audience. Please register online here: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/454961063 and join us on Wednesday, November 20 at 12:00-1:00 PM EST. If you can’t make it to the webinar but would still like to listen to Rachel Armstrong’s presentation, or any of our previous webinars, please find the recordings on our website.

On December 4, Janelle Orsi, a “sharing economy lawyer” and the executive director of the Sustainable Economies Law Center, will pick up the webinar series with her presentation “Legal Structures for Just and Sustainable Food Systems” focusing on barter, sharing, cooperatives, local currencies, and local investing. For more details see: http://envirocenter.yale.edu/events/. Registration is available here: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/390068879.

Avana Andrade is a first year Master of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She earned her B.A. in International Studies and Western European History at Colorado State University in 2010. Before returning to school, she worked as a public historian and backcountry ranger with the Student Conservation Association and the National Park Service in both Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. Her work has focused on the history of grazing and cultural resource management in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Canyonlands National Park. Work and recreation on the Colorado Plateau motivates her primary interest in grad school, environmental conflict mediation. Avana is a Colorado native and an avid backpacker and gardener.

Posted in: Energy & Climate

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